– by Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty
Welcome to the new Unite Scotland website. This is a work in progress, so bear with us! Over the coming days, weeks and months we will be populating this site with all the latest news, views and events happening across Unite in Scotland and also the wider labour movement.
We want to try and do things a little bit differently here. Yes, it’s important that we are providing our members with the most up-to-date information but this all about interaction. Too many websites have gone stale at a time when new media has never been more influential. We don’t want this to be a corporate-produced website with fluffy content which is aesthetically pleasing but offers little. Nor do we want it to be a goliath of over-information where you can’t find what you are looking for.
Ideally, this website will be a hub for debate, a tool to curate a discussion and debate between union members and the wider Scottish left community. We want you to play your part on this website and view it as an extension of your workplace and community. The forums will soon be in place for you to shape debate and we hope you will.
We have to explore and maximise every possible channel of interaction between our members. Arguably, the need has never been greater or more urgent. We’re all in line to be impacted by ‘austerity’. It’s a bleak outlook for millions of people and their families: Higher taxes; longer working hours; lower wages; and higher household costs. Youth employment will hit over 1 million. Whether you’re employed in the public or private sector, it doesn’t matter.
When the dust eventually settles, the mantra that ‘we are all in this together’ will go down as one of history’s greatest cons because make no mistake, the race to the bottom and the drive to further erode trade union rights is shifting through the gears. That’s the burden to be carried on the backbone of our economy for the havoc wreaked by the greed of an unfettered corporate agenda and a weak political class. And while the squeeze of working people gets truly under way the perpetrators get off scot-free courtesy of their Con-Dem acolytes.
Scotland doesn’t escape this. The cuts agenda is passed via the Scottish Budget and flows through the local councils and into our communities. Cameron and Osborne are simply devolving the governance and responsibility of their ideological dogma to the most local level.
We need to fight back. However, while trade unions may well act as the fulcrum for this fight back we cannot succeed alone otherwise we will achieve and change little. And our motivation cannot be solely about defending the public sector or focus purely on jobs and terms and conditions. We certainly don’t have all the answers. We need to listen to what people across Scotland are thinking about work, politics and society and everything else in between.To do this, we need to get back to our roots and engage widely.
We need to reinvigorate our lay members in our communities and workplaces by giving them the campaigning, education and organising tools to tackle the cuts agenda themselves. Our collective contribution has to be part of a wider campaign for social justice that touches all aspects of our society in Scotland and beyond, with the support of organisations and individuals that shares our progressive outlook, and ultimately changes an economic and legislative system that has dominated the last thirty years with dire results.
But we cannot do this in the first instance without the participation of our members. We are trying to provide as many channels of communication and engagement for our members as we possibly can. So if you haven’t done so already, start playing your part by bookmarking this webpage and also join:
- Our Uniteyou free text service – text CUTS to 86888;
- Our social network interaction – follow us on Twitter @UniteScotland;
- Our industrial phone bank pilot for the Scottish voluntary sector – sign-up at Unite for Our Society; and
- Our e-news service – join by e-mailing Scotland@unitetheunion.org
Check-in regularly for updates and let us know how we are doing. If we are holding events in your local area like our upcoming ‘Open Door’ Forums – then drop by and get involved. We’ll be delighted to hear from you and get your thoughts on work, society, politics, everything and anything.
Let’s face the challenges of today and the future together and unite for a better way.